Maine Charter Schools Trajectory

A Bit of Context

The movement for accountable innovative public schools started with educators as far back as the 1960s. They wanted to exercise their professional expertise by developing and implementing impactful new approaches to teaching and learning. Their students were not thriving, and they wanted to try to find effective solutions to the issues in front of them. Legislation was passed in 1991 in Minnesota to open the first charter schools. Since then the charter movement has expanded enormously: There are now over 7,000 charter schools nationwide.  Most states have charter school legistlation, with Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia being the only states not permitting this type of educational environment. Read more at the National Center for Education Statistics.


In 2011 Maine legislators enabled the chartering of schools with what was recognized as one of the most mature and effective charting laws in the nation. The law allowed for state-authorized charter schools with independent local boards and also permitted school districts to serve as authorizers of new schools. In 2017 the law was amended to both limit the number of independent charter schools to ten and prohibit school districts from serving as authorizers. Charter school enrollment has increased over the last several years in Maine, evidence of charters meeting a need for a significant number of student and families. Where will the movement go in the future? Keep up-to-date by signing up with us. You can also find information on the Maine Charter School Commission’s website. 

Learn More

Listen to the conversation below to hear Joe Nathan (Center for School Change), Judith Jones (Ed Forum board member), and Jeremy Jones (Maine Charter School Commission) discuss how the chartering of schools began, where it is going nationally, and what that means for Maine.